Why are Olympic athletes getting pandas as an alternative of medals?


Instantly after competitors, the successful athletes in Beijing obtain a luxurious toy panda, stuffed inside a plastic shell that’s meant to symbolize ice.

BEIJING, China — When most champions get off the slopes or the ice on the Beijing Olympics, they’re handed Bing Dwen Dwen, the chubby panda mascot of the Video games.

The place are the medals? They normally come later at a particular ceremony — a system launched in 1988 on the Calgary Video games.

However instantly after competitors, the successful athletes in Beijing obtain a luxurious toy panda, stuffed inside a plastic shell that’s meant to symbolize ice. Bing, in reality, means ice in Chinese language. The toy can also be adorned with a golden wreath.

Canadian snowboarder Mark McMorris received his third Olympic bronze medal on Monday and stated he liked the prize that got here with it.

“I all the time claimed again within the day that my spirit animal is a panda. I really like pandas,” he stated.

An identical ritual unfolded on the Pyeongchang Video games 4 years in the past. There, instantly after successful gold, silver or bronze, medalists obtained Soohorang, a striped white tiger that served because the mascot for these Video games.

The custom of giving a mascot to the winners has existed for greater than a decade on the Youth Olympics.

Why do Olympians chew their medals? 

One of many typical but iconic photos you see on the Olympic video games is the winners standing on the rostrum, biting their newly-won neckwear. However how did this come about?

We noticed it repeatedly on the Tokyo Olympics. Even the official Twitter account for the Summer season Video games needed to remind individuals the medals weren’t edible. 

“We simply wish to formally verify that the #Tokyo2020 medals will not be edible,” the Tokyo 2020 account tweeted. “Our [Olympic] medals are created from materials recycled from digital gadgets donated by the Japanese public. So, you do not have to chew them… however we all know you continue to will.” 

The fashionable-day reply as to why athletes chew their medals is one that will not appear all that attention-grabbing. 

Ever watch an awards present pink carpet when the photographers are yelling on the well-dressed stars to look their approach and smile, pose or no matter else? In response to a number of accounts from Olympians, the identical factor occurs on the video games. Photographers hound athletes to “chew” their medals.

“It’s turn out to be an obsession with the photographers,” David Wallechinsky, president of the Worldwide Society of Olympic Historians, advised CNN in 2012. “I feel they have a look at it as an iconic shot, as one thing that you would be able to most likely promote. I don’t assume it’s one thing the athletes would most likely do on their very own.”

There’s additionally an older reply to the query. Cash handlers greater than a century in the past would chew down on cash to make sure they weren’t counterfeit. Actual gold is softer than human tooth and, subsequently, could be left with a mark if bitten, in response to CNN.



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